5th step to basic management: planning

planning_hardhats

Planning is one of the pillars of management. It is the cornerstone of control. Without it, it is impossible to systematically target and attain organisational objectives.

After the structure is set in the previous 4 steps and the team is aligned, internally, the best next step is to commence the planning process. The following processes is the ingredients to a well-constituted environment for success for all industries and organisations. The level of detail and frequency of control will vary between organisations, depending on the industry, maturity and management capability.

The processes below has actual practical steps that are not elaborated upon. These detail steps are discussed in training sessions and will be released in online training material.

The strategic planning process involves:

Determining the overall strategy and plan how to fulfill consumer needs;
Determining the strategic direction of the organisation;
Determining the strategic indicators to guide the organisation in the right direction;
Determine a strategic plan to measure progress against with measurements – these measurements are normally not as defined as operational measurements, but nevertheless specific enough to provide progress on a quarterly and annual basis.

The capacity planning process involves:

Determining the required volume to be processed by using one or a combination of various forecasting models or soliciting forecasts from the sales/marketing force;
Determining the capacity required to support the forecasted volume;
Determining the specific resources and organisation structure for the operation;
Raising/Requesting the resources from the organisation.

The mobilisation planning process involves:

The annual/seasonal delivery plan (Master Production Schedule);
Monthly/Weekly delivery plans/buckets;
The quarter/monthly resource roster (Medium Term resource planning);
The weekly/daily resource schedule;
Shift plans and schedules;
Management teams and their objectives.

The performance and progress planning process involves:

Determining the key performance indicators (KPIs) for quality and quantity;
Determining the targets for annual/monthly/weekly/daily/hourly KPI measurements (not necessarily all KPIs at all levels);
Determining the review frequencies, review forums and escalation procedures;
Determining the mechanism for collecting data and aggregating data to information used in the reviews.

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Vitamin D found to improve insulin functioning

I reported on a study which suggested that obesity is a potential cause of vitamin D deficiency, but that vitamin D deficiency is unlikely to have a big role in driving obesity. However, even if this conclusion is utterly correct, it does not mean that boosting vitamin D levels in the body does not benefit health, including in those who are obese.

And by way of example, just this week saw the publication of a study in which obese individuals were treated with vitamin D with good effect. The study subjects were adolescents (average age 14) with an average body mass index of about 40 (obese). They were treated with 4,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D or placebo for 6 months. Vitamin D levels in the study subjects started at about 19 ng/ml (47 nmol/l) and doubled in those taking vitamin D (no significant change in those taking placebo).

A number of parameters were measured, and here’s a brief summary of the findings:

Vitamin D did not affect body mass index
Vitamin D did not affect blood markers of inflammation
Vitamin D did lead to a lower level of fasting insulin levels
Vitamin D did lead to better functioning insulin (insulin ‘sensitivity’ was improved)

The finding that vitamin D did not affect body mass index is consistent with the recent research which suggests obesity is a potential cause of vitamin D deficiency, but not so much the other way round.

The finding that vitamin D improved insulin sensitivity is encouraging, though. In general terms, the better insulin works, the better blood sugar control is, and the lower the risk of someone developing type 2 diabetes. Proper functioning insulin basically facilitates the uptake of nutrients from the bloodstream into the body’s cells, which can improve physical and mental energy and reduce hunger.

This is only one study, but other evidence exists which shows vitamin D has the capacity to enhance insulin functioning. In one study, 4,000 IU of vitamin D given for 6 months improved insulin sensitivity in a group of insulin resistant and vitamin D-deficient women [2].

References:

1. Belenchia AM, et al. Correcting vitamin D insufficiency improves insulin sensitivity in obese adolescents: a randomized controlled trial. AJCN. First published ahead of print February 13, 2013

2. von Hurst PR, et al. Vitamin D supplementation reduces insulin resistance in South Asian women living in New Zealand who are insulin resistant and vitamin D deficient – a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2010;103(4):549-55

4th step in basic management: empower your team to perform

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The next step in moving towards a team that perform and attain the required objectives, is to EMPOWER them to live up to their responsibilities. Empowerment is to equip your team with the necessary:

  • support;
  • knowledge;
  • coaching;
  • contacts;
  • equipment;
  • resources;
  • finances;
  • room to make mistakes; and
  • boundaries to innovate.

This is formally done by determining the level and tolerances for all the variables mentioned above and contracting with your individual team members. This forms the base for performance review. The frequency of review needs to be established.

Now you have created the greenhouse for your team to perform.

(MNA)

a manager’s reponsibilities

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A manager is responsible for a defined piece of work within a department/division/business. The success for a manager is to deliver the determined objectives for that unit within the agreed duration, budget and sustainability. A manager is not only responsible to deliver results, but to transcend the present and build the necessary management systems to sustain and increase performance continuously.

Managers should be focusing to deliver in the short-term, but never lose sight of implementing systems that will enable sustainability of results and allow more time to be spent on innovation to either grow revenue or decrease cost, without compromising om quality.

In large corporate organisations, the manager is exposed to formal managerial planning processes that are schedule to a corporate calendar. In smaller organisations, the manager/owner can determine the managerial cycle. The managerial cycle is

  • forecasting, (Plan)
  • capacity planning, (Plan)
  • scheduling, (Plan)
  • executing, (Do)
  • reviewing and (Check)
  • corrective action. (Act)

The art of management is to motivate and lead the team to accomplish the objectives set.

Do you follow these steps as a manager?

Management method

Project management has a defacto method in PRINCEII. The method uses 7 Principles, 7 Themes and 7 Processes in a system designed to place any project under control.

General Management, to my knowledge, do not possess such a widely used methodology. It will enable managers to be guided within a framework. Best practice is also a consideration.

In my experience, most entrants in management, junior managers and even seniors managers, would welcome a standard way of dealing with the management issues. I will aim to communicate parts of a methodology that I’ve used as a consultant and that enables organizations to increase their performance.

“Meeting bloody meetings”

Every working person has been involved in a meeting, one or another time. The general comment regarding meetings is that they are a “waste of time”, that there is “no value” to a meeting and the best of all is that “a meeting is not work”. This is a real problem, because meetings are an integral mechanism of management. Meetings should be the culmination of the review of planned activities, identification of corrective action and holding people to account.

Meetings are to be planned in detail as far as the agenda, time allocated and expected output. All participants should be engaged and feeling that they are productively contributing. If not, the person should probably not attend the meeting. It is not an information session.

There are 2 types of meetings, namely the regular and frequent meeting interventions to review the execution company activities and then there is the ad hoc/as required review of specific issues important to the team/group/company. Both types should be carefully planned.

Management without proper meetings, is very difficult.effective-meetings-productive-tips

Innovation is our business

AVAST Software makes the world’s most widely used computer security software and is one of the Czech Republic’s greatest business successes:
• Based on protecting over 177 million active devices, we have the largest global market share in our industry
• Operating in about 40 languages, we have over a million users in each of 30 different countries
• World-wide operations are run from Prague, with business locations in the U.S., Germany, and Austria
• AVAST Software is rated as one of the best Czech small/mid-sized companies to work for
• We are an exceptional company looking for exceptional people. Please don’t just send us a CV. We care a lot about you — your CV and other materials may be read by our CEO, Founders, or other members of the executive team. Please read our needs closely, check out our website (www.avast.com) to understand us, and research us. If you think you are one of the exceptional people we want, send us your CV and a short explanation as to why you are a good fit.

Self starting position as part of the marketing team, creating news stories, press releases, generating press buzz, react to journalists and bloggers requests and participating on other PR activities to increase brand visibility of AVAST.

Job role:

  • News and press releases creation
  • Blog posting on security related topics
  • Monitoring media for AVAST related and security related topics

Requirements:

  • English native speaker
  • IT and/or computer security related journalist/blogger experience

We offer:

• interesting job in international team of growing company
• pleasant working environment
• flexible working hours
• benefits (lunch vouchers, 5 weeks of vacation, sick days, language courses, trainings, pension insurance, company loans)

Job location: Prague 4 (remote work is possible in exceptional cases)
Type of job: full-time work
Starting date: upon agreement, possible immediate

If you are interested in this position, please send us your CV, explanatory letter and samples of your published work (news, blogs) via e-questionnaire (the “Apply” button below).

We are a very international company and have a very international team here in Prague. However, foreigner work permits and Visas are very difficult to obtain. If you don’t have the right to work here or in the EU, we regret that we will not be able to consider you.

Contact:

AVAST Software a.s.
Kristýna Mazánková
Budějovická 1518 / 13a
140 00  Praha
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